The next time you think about passing on sex because you’re too tired, you may want to reconsider. A new study shows sex and sleep go hand in hand.
We sleep less and less as we age. Many older women in particular cite being too exhausted to have sex.
But a massive new study hints that sexually active women over the age of 50 are more likely to report getting at least seven hours of sleep per night when compared to their non-sexually active peers.
Using data from almost 100,000 women ages 50 to 79 collected by the Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study, “we examined cross-sectional associations between sleep measures and two indicators of sexual function: partnered sexual activity and sexual satisfaction within the last year,” the authors explained in the abstract.
Just over half said they were still having partnered sex and were happy with their sex lives. About one in three reported insomnia, and the worse the insomnia, the less sex.
“Shorter sleep durations and higher insomnia scores were associated with decreased sexual function, even after adjustment for potential confounders, suggesting the importance of sufficient, high-quality sleep for sexual function,” the authors concluded.
The study, published in June in the journal Menopause, confirms previous research, but on a much larger scale.
In another study, published in the journal Sexual Medicine, researchers showed that sleep apnea is linked to sexual problems.
“Obtaining sufficient sleep is important to the promotion of healthy sexual desire and genital response, as well as the likelihood of engaging in partnered sexual activity,” the authors wrote in their abstract.
More than 170 women not taking antidepressants self-reported sexual desire, arousal and orgasmic quality. They were monitored for “sleep duration, sleep quality, and sleep onset latency on daily female sexual response and activity,” according to the abstract.
“These relationships were independent of daytime affect and fatigue. Future directions may investigate sleep disorders as risk factors for sexual dysfunction.”
Yet another study showed that a lack of sleep among unemployed and low-income minority women going through menopause suffer from anxiety and other problems.
“This sample of predominantly Hispanic women of low socioeconomic status had a high prevalence of female sexual dysfunction,” concluded the authors of the paper, published in the Journal of Women’s Health.
“These data also suggest poor sleep is significantly associated with female sexual dysfunction and that women of low socioeconomic status with female sexual dysfunction may have a significantly higher prevalence of depression and anxiety.”
A professional journalist nearly 30 years, David Heitz started his career at the Quad-City Times in Davenport, Iowa before moving to Los Angeles. He led the Glendale News-Press to best small daily newspaper in the state (CNPA) as managing editor and also worked as executive news editor of the Press-Telegram. He worked briefly as deputy news editor of the Detroit News before returning to the Quad-Cities, where he has worked as a freelance medical writer since 2012 for several national websites. He recently purchased his childhood home and says he truly is “living the dream.”